SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES IN MALAYSIA Race
Fierce battle ends with 1-2 finish for GT-R teams! Tears of joy for Kazuyoshi Hoshino! Victory for his CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R team
The SUPER GT INTERNATIONAL SERIES IN MALAYSIA, Round 4 of the 2010 AUTOBACS SUPER GT, was held at the Sepang International Circuit (lap = 5.543 km x 54 laps) in Malaysia (on June 20). The GT500 class winner was the pole-starting CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R driven by Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli for their first victory of the season. Second place went to the MOTUL AUTECH GT-R, giving the Nissan GT-R a 1-2 finish.
To avoid the midday tropical heat in Malaysia, the race started at 16:00 (local time) in the early evening. Starting from the pole position, Matsuda in the CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R managed to stay ahead of his Honda HSV-010GT pursuers and remain in the lead until he made his pit stop at the end of lap 25. After that, the RAYBRIG HSV-010 and MOTUL AUTECH GT-R moved ahead for a while, until the RAYBRIG and MOTUL cars collided and that accident helped the CALSONIC take the lead again with 10 laps remaining in the race. From that point on, Quintarelli managed to keep that lead to the finish and claim the team's first win since the final round of the 2008 season.
The CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R's TEAM IMPUL is one of the famous teams on the GT circuit and is managed by Kazuyoshi Hoshino, formerly known as "the fastest man in Japan" during his own driving career. Despite its glorious history, the team had to take a second seat to the other victorious GT-R teams in a winless 2009 season. Despite last season's failings, the stalwart support of many surrounding the team helped it mount a SUPER GT campaign again this season, and it was probably feelings of gratitude for that support that brought tears to the eyes of Hoshino after the race.
In the GT300 class race, the M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC7 came from 2nd position on the class starting grid to grab the win. This was the fifth win for the AMEMIYA RACING team here at Sepang in the ten GT races held here (including the unofficial round(s). his victory was a big present for the team's Malaysian sponsor. (Spectators: 27,500)
+ Winner Comments
No.12 CALSONIC IMPUL GT-R [GT500]
Tsugio Matsuda: "There were some uncertain factors in today's race, so I am really happy that we won. I am glad that I was able to do my job of getting a good start and then turning the wheel over to Ronnie (for the second half) in first position. Although, if I had been able to give him a bit more of a margin over the cars behind, it would have made his job easier.... Things had gone well most of the way, but near the end, the Honda machine with their advantage in tire wear rate began to close the gap. Still, Ronnie was able to get to the checkered in 1st place for us. So, this win belongs not just to me but to Ronnie and to Manager Hoshino and the team who gave us a chance to run winter tests despite the tight finances, and to the people at NISMO who supplied us with this new engine and the people at Bridgestone and everyone else involved."
Ronnie Quintarelli: "I thought I could get past car No. 100 but I was beginning to lose tire grip at that point and that kept me from running at the pace I wanted. But I kept pushing, knowing that this was the key point in the race. (When No. 100 collided with another machine) I thought that there was a possibility of it happening, so I had kept a space open on the inside. But I still don't know what happened to him. To tell the truth, I didn't think we were going to win, but when I started my stint I found that neither No. 100 nor No. 23 had gotten as far ahead as I thought they would, so I kept pushing to try to catch them. Then they collided with each other. The last ten laps after that were very long for me. So much happened out there that I still can't believe that we really won. Tsugio and the team all worked very hard. Nothing can beat this feeling of having won."
No.7 M7 MUTIARA MOTORS AMEMIYA SGC 7 [GT300]
Nobuteru Taniguchi: "Our team's main sponsor is a Malaysian company, so several of the country's VIPs were at the pre-race party, and we wanted to win this race, so there was a lot of pressure. That makes me all the more happy that we won this race. Or strategy had been that we wouldn't change tires if we were in the lead. The tires that the engineers chose for us were exceptionally good."
Ryo Orime: "Our Malaysian sponsor MUTIARA MOTORS came out to give us their support this weekend, so I am very happy that we were able to give them this victory in return. Taniguchi-san pushed hard and brought the car back in 1st place with a lead, so things were relatively easy for me. But trouble developed in the suspensions in the last seven laps, so I had to avoid the curbing and that slowed my pace by almost 2 seconds per lap. Actually, it was a miracle that I was able to make it to the finish."